Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 25
A pair of one of the deadliest drones in the world has been leased by India from a US company. The two drones come from the series known as the ‘predators’ made by US company General Atomics.
The lease is direct from the company, official sources said on Wednesday. The Navy will get the ‘Sea Guardian’ version of the ‘Predator’ series of drones. The US Navy uses the same variant.
The drones have arrived at the Indian Naval Station INS Rajali near Chennai and have been leased for a period of one year. The case for getting 30 such drones – in two variants, one for use over land the other for use over sea — is being processed separately, said the source. The two drones are under ‘emergency procurement’.
The lease has been done after the Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 incorporated a new category to enable operating of assets without owning them.
These drones carry a multi-mode radar for surveillance including a special radar called the Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) mode that allows to track multiple targets. These can be armed with Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) weapons and be launched to examine an area. The drone will relay live images and videos. The drones have an endurance of over 30 hours.
India could deploy the same in Ladakh and also over the Indian Ocean.
An American crew from the General Atomics is accompanying the equipment and would help the Navy to operate the machines. Under the lease agreement, the American support staff will only help in the maintenance and technical issues. The planning of flights and controls on ground would be with the Indian Navy. The data gathered by the drones during the flight would also be the exclusive property of the Indian Navy.